Hong Kong academy to offer Cantonese opera degree

By MIN LEE | May 16, 2011 | 5:28 AM EDT

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong performing arts school will offer a Cantonese opera degree in the latest effort to preserve the traditional art form designated as a key cultural heritage.

The Academy for Performing Arts says the program will combine theory and practice to prepare students for Cantonese opera careers as performers, educators or arts administrators.

If the four-year program — the first of its kind — does well, postgraduate degrees may be added. The school's statement Monday said bachelor's degrees would be offered starting in September 2013.

Cantonese opera is sung in the southern Chinese dialect. A U.N. organization listed it as a key cultural heritage in 2009.